|John Hunt Park, with the approximate Master Plan area (indicated by the blue boundary). Note the remnants of the runways of the old airport that closed in 1967. Google Earth|
Enter the John Hunt Park Master Plan. Its goal is to tie in all of the great facilities that already exist and make the 387-acre John Hunt into the city's "Central Park," as Mayor Battle calls it.
|The John Hunt Park Master Plan. Source: City of Huntsville|
Expanded athletic facilities-- This will enhance the tennis and baseball facilities currently present at John Hunt, in order to attract larger tournaments to the city.
Amphitheater- for concerts, outdoor movies, performances, etc. This will be the center of a 15-acre "outdoor festival area" where large events and festivals will be held.
Expanded Iceplex- at least one new rink for the Iceplex is proposed.
New Indoor Rec Facilities-- a multi-purpose building is proposed to replace the existing Jaycees building; a 4,000-seat athletic facility is also planned.
More Greenspace, Trails-- the underutilized land currently in between John Hunt Park's facilities will become usable greenspace, with more trails, pavilions, and landscaping improvements.
A new park on Triana Blvd.- Some of the soccer fields will be moved to make way for a new Kid's Space, so they will move to a new park south of McDonnell Elementary.
|The proposed park off Triana Blvd. Credit: City of Huntsville|
Note that the existing Kid's Space will not be moved as originally planned last year. This means that while the playground will remain for the time being, chances are that it will now be surrounded by commercial buildings or even a large parking lot. The original plan, which encountered opposition from the volunteer group responsible for building the playground nearly 20 years ago, called for Kid's Space to be moved 1500 ft. west from its current site, enlarging it and connecting it to the rest of the park. The new playground is still part of the long-term plans, as well as a children's "splash pad."
Let me know what you think about the concept. The drawings above are not set in stone, and opinions are welcome. The City has set up a website (Imagine Huntsville) to collect ideas from the public, and there will be several meetings to be held to field comments before November, when the Master Plan is scheduled to be adopted by the Planning Commission.
Final Update: On 11/21, the Planning Commission unanimously passed the Master Plan. This allows the City to move forward on soliciting proposals for the sale of the 25-acre commercial tract. The proceeds of this sale will go towards the purchase the land for the Triana Blvd. park, as well as begin improvements to John Hunt south of Airport Rd.